In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, ex-Aston Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie has urged Bertrand Traore to step up, especially in the absence of Jack Grealish.
Following Villa’s recent 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, another former player of the Midlands club, Alan Hutton, criticised Dean Smith’s attack. Traore, Trezeguet, Anwar El Ghazi and Ross Barkley were all namechecked by the Scotsman for not doing enough, something that Hendrie agrees with.
Overall, Traore has arguably had a good season. Since joining from Lyon in the last summer transfer window, the 25-year-old has managed to score five goals and provide three assists in the Premier League.
He has scored one league goal less than Grealish, putting things into perspective, but the Burkina Faso international’s failure to provide much in his team-mate’s absence has become a concern for the likes of Hendrie and Hutton.
Reacting to what Hutton had to say, Hendrie told FFC:
“I think what Hutts is talking about is that with Jack not being in the frame, you need standout players, you need exciting players that are going to step up to the plate and fulfil Jack’s role, because otherwise you’re going to get branded as almost a one-man team.
“So, yes, I’m totally, totally with Hutts on that because when you’ve got someone of his [Traore] ability, that’s where he needs to come on and be that player.”
The ex-Villa player concluded by saying:
“Hutton is dead right. When he’s [Grealish] not in there, who’s going to be that man? Who’s going to be that focal point that’s going to be the next best thing? Traore should be, he should be.”
Traore will have the chance to add to his goal tally when Villa take on Fulham at home in the Premier League after the international break.